The government has commenced discussions to formulate new laws on election-related expenditure, including implementation of campaign finance reforms and the introduction of expenditure ceilings, adding that they were likely to be introduced by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe as the Minister of National Policies.
Deputy Minister of Parliamentary Reforms and Mass Media, Karunarathna Paranawithana said that although legal initiatives were yet to be taken in this regard, discussions pertaining to the matter had already begun with the several stakeholders, including local election monitoring bodies.
It is reliably learned that the matter is at the discussion stage with separate discussions regarding the issues pertaining to campaign finance having already been held within the Election Commission and the Department of Elections, between the Election Commission and the general secretaries of the political parties, and between the Election Commission and the South Asia Elections Officials Association.
It is also learned that a law would be brought in this regard in the future.
“The Election Commission must take a leadership role in setting up a policy in this regard and the government has to take a leadership role in bringing a law to enforce such,” he remarked.
He added that the government would extend its fullest cooperation with regard to such a move to establish expenditure ceilings.
Recently, the Asian Network for Free Elections too highlighted the importance of expenditure ceilings.
“The media guidelines of the Election Commission are now before the Parliament. The conducting of an election is an independent activity. Details such as campaign finance reforms cannot be included in the new Constitution as the Constitution is a broad document. This must be done within the laws governing elections,” he emphasized.